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October 1, 2014

Government of Canada Wrong to Play Fur Politics with RCMP Uniforms

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Wildpix645/iStock

Humane Society International/Canada is calling on the Conservative Party to stop acting on behalf of fur industry lobbyists and cease interfering in Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform decisions. Yesterday, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq stated the government would force the RCMP to revert to using hats made from muskrat fur for regular cold weather use.
Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada said:
“This decision is an affront to the many members of the public and the RCMP service members who supported the conscientious decision to phase out the use of muskrat fur hats for regular cold weather use. 
The reasons for the phase-out were humane and sound. Each muskrat fur hat requires at least two animals to die, and likely suffer beforehand in leghold traps or body-crushing traps—some held underwater to drown. That suffering is completely unnecessary given that the RCMP has identified a cold weather toque that would be a suitable replacement.
Further, this was a decision made by the RCMP, for the RCMP, in the best interests of the force, the public and animal welfare. Politicians should not capitalize on this issue to score points with special interests in the fur industry. Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, should stand by the RCMP’s prudent decision.”


  • Each RCMP muskrat fur hat requires the pelts from two or three muskrats. Approximately 3,000 hats are issued to new officers every year, which means that about 6,000-9,000 muskrats suffer and die in leghold or body crushing traps each year just to supply the RCMP. This comes at an annual cost to taxpayers of approximately $65,000. 
  • Many muskrats trapped for fur are so desperate to escape that they chew off their own limb. This is so common that the fur industry developed the "Stop Loss" leghold trap specifically for muskrats. These traps clamp down the muskrat's body, pinning the animal away from their trapped leg, preventing them from escape via self-amputation.
  • Muskrats are also commonly trapped in water, causing them to drown. Drowning has been deemed inhumane and unacceptable by the Canadian and American and Veterinary Medical Associations.

Media Contact: HSI/Canada: Christopher Paré, 514.395.2914, cpare@hsi.org

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